Moving your data and workloads to the cloud is an essential part of making your IT environment more agile, scalable, and productive. In particular, cloud data warehouses provide the on-demand, elastic storage and easy accessibility that today’s businesses require.
According to a 2019 survey, 56 percent of companies now have a cloud data warehouse, efficiently collecting and analyzing their information in the cloud. However, maintaining this centralized data repository is useless without an ETL pipeline that migrates information from a variety of sources into the target data warehouse.
There are dozens of ETL tools on the market, each one with its own benefits and use cases. Alooma is a popular data migration service that helps automate the ETL process while improving visibility and transparency.
Yet for all the benefits of Alooma, many Alooma users are unhappy about recent events with the service. These customers have either already migrated away from Alooma, or they are giving it serious thought.
If this describes your situation well, we’re here to help. This all-in-one guide will help you understand the following:
Why Are Users Leaving Alooma?
In February 2019, Google announced that it planned to acquire Alooma, bringing it into the Google Cloud Platform family. Google said that the purchase of Alooma was “a natural fit that allows us to offer customers a streamlined, automated migration experience to Google Cloud.”
This news provoked speculation that Google would eventually sunset its support for cloud data warehouse alternatives to BigQuery. For example, Jason Maas, chief operating officer at tech consulting firm Aptitive, said that Redshift and Azure would likely become "unsupported" as target cloud data warehouses.
According to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, Alooma’s website still advertised its compatibility with non-Google services immediately after the announcement. On February 20, 2019, the Alooma website said that Alooma “brings all your data sources together into BigQuery, Redshift, Snowflake, Azure, and more.”
Google confirmed this claim not long after news of the Alooma acquisition went public. In a statement, a Google representative said that “the existing Alooma product will continue to support other cloud providers. We will only be accepting new customers that are migrating data to Google Cloud Platform, but existing customers will continue to have access to other cloud providers.”
This declaration was worrying enough for existing Alooma customers who were using non-Google platforms like Snowflake, Redshift, and Azure. Many customers were concerned that they would be treated like “second-class citizens” after the acquisition was complete, with no new updates or features for data warehouses other than BigQuery.
Fast-forward to today, and these customers have even more reason to worry. There are a few major clues that Google’s acquisition of Alooma will force out even existing customers who don’t use BigQuery.
As of October 2019, Alooma’s website now advertises that Alooma “brings data from your various data silos together into BigQuery.” In other words, the statement was rewritten to remove any mention of Redshift, Snowflake, or Azure—not coincidentally, Google’s biggest competitors in the public cloud.
So far, Google has not publicly announced that it will completely revoke support for other data warehouses. However, removing the mentions of Redshift, Azure, and Snowflake on Alooma’s home page aren’t good signs, to say the least, for Alooma customers who use these solutions.
In the end, whether Google is stopping all support for solutions besides BigQuery, or merely preventing new customers from signing up, isn’t the most important question. Given the fact that BigQuery will clearly be Alooma’s #1 priority moving forward, many Alooma customers are asking themselves: what should we do next?
Should You Leave Alooma?
Alooma customers who don’t use BigQuery now have two choices before the transition period is complete: switch their cloud data warehouse to BigQuery, or choose an alternate ETL solution.
Migrating data from one cloud data warehouse to another can be quite costly and impractical, especially when you’re only doing it to continue using an ETL platform. For example, Amazon estimates that the cost of migrating data from Oracle to Redshift is $7.85 per 10 gigabytes.
Such a figure might seem relatively cheap, until you consider that the average company manages 163 terabytes (163,000 gigabytes) of information. Moving all of this data from Oracle to Redshift would thus cost $7.85 x 16,300 = $127,955. This is an extremely pricey proposition, and one that simply isn’t worth it for many companies.
That’s not even to mention the time and complexity involved in a data migration and the associated costs of downtime, which will result in lost employee productivity and lost customer transactions. “Zero-downtime” database migrations are possible but require deep technical knowledge, so you might have to enlist the help of an external managed services provider.
In the end, what is truly important is your enterprise data, not how you choose to get it into your cloud data warehouse. There are many more cloud ETL services than there are cloud data warehouse solutions, and switching ETL solutions is much easier than switching data warehouses.
For these reasons, Alooma customers who don’t already plan to use BigQuery shouldn’t. Instead, they should investigate alternatives to Alooma that can replicate their ETL data migration pipeline at minimum cost and hassle. We’ll discuss exactly how you should do that in the next section.
How Do You Choose an Alooma Alternative?
You’ve decided that it’s in your best interests to leave Alooma—but what should you look for from your next ETL data migration solution? Below, you’ll find 5 criteria that you should consider when choosing an ETL tool.
Cost is a preeminent concern for any enterprise software, and data migration tools are no exception. Alooma is a relatively expensive ETL solution; according to Alooma co-founder Yair Weinberger, Alooma customers pay between $1,000 and $15,000 per month to use the service.
Switching ETL tools from Alooma is therefore a good opportunity for ex-Alooma customers to save some money in their IT budget. The cost of ETL solutions range from totally free (for open-source tools with certain limitations) to many thousands of dollars (for powerful enterprise tools like Informatica PowerCenter). Don’t forget to include the costs of installation, licensing, support, and maintenance into the final calculation.
2. Ease of use
An ETL tool’s learning curve and ease of use are also important considerations, especially for organizations without deep technical knowledge. Many ETL tools have a plug-and-play, drag-and-drop interface that make it easy for even non-technical users to create data pipelines to the cloud.
According to user reviews, Alooma is not an especially user-friendly product. On the business software review site Capterra, Alooma has an ease of use rating of just 2.5 out of 5 stars. Capterra reviewer Sanjay P. complains that Alooma is “not user-friendly,” with “data debug very difficult.” Businesses who are transitioning away from Alooma may want to take this chance to find a more accessible and straightforward ETL migration tool.
Data security is an important consideration for all businesses, but especially those that handle sensitive information, including healthcare, finance, and retail organizations. Regulations such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and PCI DSS govern how these organizations should handle confidential and personal data, with fines and other strict penalties as a consequence for non-compliance.
Alooma is compliant with data security regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and SOC 2 Type II. Customers who are leaving Alooma, and who need to comply with one of these regulations, should take care to find an alternate solution that is also compatible and compliant.
Alooma supports both native and custom integrations, letting users design the ETL workflow that fits their needs. To make the transition from Alooma as smooth as possible, users should look for an alternative that supports most or all of the same integrations for their ETL pipeline.
Finding an ETL tool that can connect to the right data sources, and efficiently fetch your data, is priceless. Building a seamless, well-oiled data pipeline is an investment in the future of your business, making it easier to obtain cutting-edge data-driven insights.
Customer support is an essential feature for ETL tools when things stop working, or when you have a question about the service. Depending on your business needs and objectives, you may require 24/7/365 support for your ETL tool, or a guaranteed response time within a certain window (e.g. within 1 hour).
Alooma has received an average rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars on Capterra for its customer support, which it offers via the Zendesk platform. One G2 reviewer writes that Alooma support is “very responsive.” However, Alooma does not offer guarantees about support times or windows, so large enterprises who require lightning-fast responses should prioritize this in their search for an Alooma alternative.
What are the top 3 alternatives to Alooma?
Given the considerations above, where should you start your hunt for the best alternative to Alooma?
Here at Xplenty, we’re very familiar with the Alooma saga, and we’ve been keeping tabs on Alooma since news of the Google acquisition went public. To help ex-Alooma customers, we’ve written two guides for Snowflake users leaving Alooma and Redshift users leaving Alooma.
We’ve also written an in-depth look at 3 Alooma alternatives for users who want a detailed comparison between some of their options moving forward. Finally, we have a general-purpose article on the top ETL tools for 2020 (including Alooma, for customers who don’t have issues using BigQuery).
For best results, we recommend doing your research and perusing the articles linked above Still, we understand that time is money, and sometimes you want answers fast. Here are our picks for the 3 top ETL tools for users leaving Alooma.
Not to toot our own horn, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Xplenty as a strong option for ex-Alooma users. Unlike Alooma, Xplenty is compatible with all of the major cloud data warehouse solutions (and we plan to be into the future!). This includes BigQuery, Redshift, Azure, Snowflake, and more.
Xplenty natively supports more than 120 integrations with SaaS platforms, databases, and BI and analytics tools. The Xplenty software also includes a REST API connector that can extract data from any REST API.
With an easy learning curve and a drag-and-drop interface, Xplenty enables both technical and non-technical users to build streamlined, efficient ETL pipelines. Xplenty meets stringent data security and privacy standards such as HIPAA, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). We are also SOC 2 complaint and have Field Level Encryption, a feature for our users who need to protect sensitive data.
Not convinced yet? Xplenty has received rave reviews from our customers on platforms like G2 and Capterra. With a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on G2, Xplenty has been named a “Leader for Fall 2019” and the #1 cloud data integration solution. Reviewer Bodor L. writes: “Xplenty allows me to acquire data, transform it, organize it and analyze the data intuitively and effectively. It allowed us to free up development resources that were previously tied up in making data integration pipelines with custom software… We love the fact that Xplenty integrates with the major data warehouses like Amazon Redshift.”
2. AWS Glue
AWS Glue is a fully managed ETL solution for Amazon Web Services customers. Glue is seamlessly compatible with Amazon data stores such as Redshift and S3, which makes it a good choice for businesses who used Alooma with Redshift.
If you want to remain in the Amazon ecosystem, AWS Glue is a good choice for an ETL solution. Glue provides a full suite of ETL services: a data catalog, an ETL engine, and a job scheduler. In addition, Glue is a serverless offering, which means that you don’t have to manually provision a server when using it.
One caveat: AWS Glue is a single-vendor solution, which means that Amazon services will always be the top priority—a similar issue as what’s happening with Alooma. Still, if you’re confident that you want to stick with Redshift, AWS Glue is an appealing alternative to Alooma. Read our full AWS Glue review for more information.
Stitch is an open-source ETL platform for migrating information into a cloud data warehouse. The Stitch platform is part of the Talend cloud data integration suite and includes both free and paid plans. Stitch customers on the free tier can migrate up to 5 million rows of data per month at no charge.
Like Xplenty (and unlike Alooma), Stitch includes support for multiple data warehouse solutions, including BigQuery, Redshift, Azure, and Snowflake. Stitch allows integrations with a wide variety of data sources, and also lets users define data transformations using the Talend GUI.
There are two issues when considering Stitch as an ETL solution. First, Stitch users are limited to only one cloud data warehouse at a time, which might be a dealbreaker for large enterprises that use multiple data warehouses. Second, Stitch pricing is based on the number of rows of data you import, which again could be undesirable for large enterprises with vast quantities of information.
Alooma has many features and great functionality. Unfortunately, Alooma customers who don’t use BigQuery will soon find themselves evicted from the platform, in search of another ETL solution that’s compatible with their choice of data warehouse.
If you’re in search of an alternative to Alooma, we’d love you to give Xplenty a try for your ETL and data integration needs. If you happen to be currently using Alooma as your ETL solution, learn how we can make your transition easier and receive a special offer due to your unique situation, here. Xplenty’s pre-built integrations, our commitment to data security, and our outstanding customer support all make us a cut above the competition. Get in touch with the Xplenty team today for a personalized demo and a 7-day free trial.